JASON Byrne has such a strong following that his comedy is almost like a religion to his fans.

His autumn tour of a new, highly audience-interactive show will stopping off in Swindon next Friday (November 17).

“My shows are like a fun church, but everyone leaves feeling happy and not feeling guilty,” he said.

“It is a show where we never know what is going to happen – many people bring their friends, their cousins and one guy even came up afterwards and said to me ‘Thank God you were so funny, I brought 12 work mates and they would have killed me if you hadn’t been’.”

Before his tour Jason spent four weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe with his new show The Man With Three Brains.

“Never mind three brains, I was the man with no brains, practically institutionalised by the end,” he said. “I was still on stage at 3am.”

Jason is an old hand at the Fringe as this was his 22nd year. He entertained around 17,000 people by the end of the run. He says it was exhausting, but his wife had no pity on him. She did not accompany him to Scotland, but his son did.

The comedian says when the Fringe started, with the likes of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, who wanted to do comedy rather than join the Edinburgh theatrical festival, it was a great breeding ground for fledgling comedians, but today it is much harder for new recruits.

“When the young guys used to win the Perrier awards they would be on Channel 4 television the following autumn - it gave them a spotlight - but it is not like that anymore with all the social media,” he said.

The comedian was himself nominated for Perrier Awards in 1998, 2001 and again in 2004 Fringe in the Forth One Fringe awards.

His new show, which he is bringing to Swindon, he described as organised chaos, but it went down a storm at the Fringe and again on tour. He says that he has divided it up into three ‘brains’ the improv section, the written, planned bit of the show and the stunts where people join in.

“I had a number of guys on stage with me, most were laughing and engaging but there was just one who was really nervous - and he was the actor! It really becomes like a sit-com,’’ he said.

The Irish-born comedian from Ballinteer near Dublin, who appeared in the popular sit com Father Ted, says he would like to do more acting as it it easy compared to stand up.

His latest TV programme, currently being broadcast on the Dave channel, Don’t Say It, Bring It, is a game show loosely based on a scavenger hunt.

“We are doing 20 programmes in the series and are out on the streets. It is a good craic and I am working with pals, I love it. It is warm and loveable and we give away cash.

“A family in real need won £250 and they were in tears so I was in tears. I wanted to sneak another £50 in their pockets but they wouldn’t let me,” he said.

Along with his stage and TV work Jason has been commissioned to write a children’s book.

“It is called the The Five Os, it is about four children and a tortoise who have to save the imaginations of children in another universe, it is quite dark and my 10-year-old loved it.”

Tickets to see Jason in The Man With Three Brains at the Wyvern Theatre are £23 from 01793 524481 or visit www.swindontheatres.co.uk to buy them. - Flicky Harrison